Winding Up the Week #342

An end of week recap

The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.”
 Salman Rushdie

This is a post in which I summarise books read, reviewed and currently on my TBR shelf. In addition to a variety of literary titbits, I look ahead to forthcoming features, see what’s on the nightstand and keep readers abreast of various book-related happenings.


If you are planning a reading event, challenge, competition, or anything else likely to be of interest to the book blogging community, please let me know. I will happily share your news here with the fabulous array of bibliowonks who read this weekly wind up.

* Czech Your Shelves *

Stu at Winstonsdad’s Blog is hosting a new reading challenge this year, namely Czech Lit Month 2023, which will replace his usual Spanish Literature Month. From the 1st to 30th September, he will encourage fellow book bloggers to disappear down the “rabbit hole of Czech literature” with him and get to know the likes of Capek, Hašek, Klima, Hrabal, Kundera, plus “many older writers in translation and some great new writers from publishers like Jantar Books.” He will post regular updates and plans to select an official read-along title. “Have you a favourite Czech writer or publisher?” he asks. Please check out the Czech lit month reminder post for many useful reading lists and to let Stu know you are taking part.

* Irresistible Items *

Umpteen fascinating articles appeared on my bookdar last week. I generally make a point of tweeting/x-ing (soon, perhaps, Mastodonning) my favourite finds (or adding them to my Facebook group page), but in case you missed anything, there follows a selection of interesting snippets:


Literary Hub: 22 New Books – Gabrielle Bellot with a selection of just published books to brighten up the final few weeks of summer/winter. 

GQ: Irish writers are dominating literature. We’re getting the reasons why all wrong – “The narrative around modern Irish literature often omits that this is a nation with a long history of storytelling, says author Rachel Connolly.”

Brisbane Times: A hundred years on, Charmian Clift’s time has finally arrived – Nadia Wheatley discovers life in the shadow of husband George Johnston was frustrating for Australian writer Charmian Clift, but it seems now is her moment with books being republished and new work appearing.

The Mitt Press: Horror So Wondrous: An Excerpt from William Hope Hodgson’s “The Night Land” – “‘Like certain rare dreams,’ C. S. Lewis wrote of Hodgson’s masterpiece, The Night Land can give ‘sensations we never had before and enlarge our conception of the range of possible experience.’”

The New York Review: Morrison Hall – For Namwali Serpell, a “recent exhibit of Toni Morrison’s papers raised the question: How do you mourn a monument?”

The Paris Review: The Lawn Is Resting: A Visit to Balzac’s House – Bailey Trela asks herself why she “felt such an acute need to visit the home where Honoré de Balzac, a writer [she] wasn’t even that familiar with, had composed the bulk of The Human Comedy.”

Times of Malta: ‘Categorise my work if you must. I won’t’ – The work of Swedish speculative fiction author, Karin Tidbeck “is often defined as unclassifiable,” says Teodor Reljić.

The National: Scottish literature: What is it and who needs it? – Alan Riach ponders Scottish literature and asks, “is there such a thing?”

The New York Times: The Essential Ursula K. Le Guin – “Her powerful imagination turned hypothetical elsewheres into vivid worlds governed by forces of nature, technology, gender, race and class a far cry from our own,” writes Shreya Chattopadhyay.

Travel & Leisure: Author R.O. Kwon’s Guide to Seoul — Where She Loves to Eat, Drink, and Shop – “Over the past few years, Korean culture has been captivating every corner of the globe. Here’s how Korean-born author R.O. Kwon visits her home city.”

LA Times: The queer love affairs, historical and personal, that inspired Emma Donoghue’s new novel – The Canadian author discusses the personal schoolgirl love affair that inspired her latest historical novel Learned by Heart.

Esquire: Booksellers Are Suddenly At the Vanguard of the Culture Wars – “Josh Cook, the author of The Art of Libromancy, explains [to Adrienne Westenfeld] how independent bookstores—in the age of book banning and the pandemic’s lingering aftershocks—can change the world for the better.”

Publishing Perspectives: Germany’s KulturPass: Books Lead in Unit Sales – “Expenditures made by young Germans on the new KulturPass have generated more than €3.2 million in revenue in two months,” says Porter Anderson” – and it seems books have overwhelmingly made up most of the purchases.

Cape Cod Times: Do you know about Cape Cod’s indie bookstore trail? Here’s how you shouldn’t miss it. – “The Cape and Islands Bookstore Trail is the perfect guide” to enjoying some “literary fun” in this quaint corner of Massachusetts.

Aeon: Chorus of testimony – Nina Siegal finds “Anne Frank’s diary is one of thousands of desperate, secret and vivid journals each bearing witness to the reality of war.”

The Deep Dive: Revisiting a Viral Sensation 30 Years Later – Rebecca Schinsky takes a “journey back to The Bridges of Madison County.”

Vogue: ‘I Really Want to Write the Books I Want to Write Before I Die’: Zadie Smith Is Back With an Epic—And Emotional—New Novel – The English novelist, essayist and short-story writer talks to Zing Tsjeng about her latest novel, The Fraud.

Slate: Get Rid of Your Books – “Couldn’t you use a little extra space?” asks Dorie Chevlen.

Literary Review: Such Sweet Sorrow – Kirsten Tambling applauds Sophie Duncan’s “verve and curiosity, combined with her intimate knowledge of Shakespeare’s play” in her review of Searching for Juliet: The Lives and Deaths of Shakespeare’s First Tragic Heroine.

Open: Finding HomeWater in a Broken Pot is the “memoir of a Dalit writer [sharing his recollections of] alienation, deprivation and reconciliation.”

Air Mail: Shark Tales – In this essay, scientist Greg Skomal and writer Ret Talbot, co-authors of Chasing Shadows, reveal how restoring New England’s great-white-shark population created a new problem: angry beachgoers.

The Baffler: Accessory after the Fact – “Can a work of true crime condemn its own genre?” asks Jack Sheehan.

3:AM Magazine: Brotherless Night: An Interview with V.V. Ganeshananthan – Katy Wimhurst interviews V.V. Ganeshananthan, an Indian American writer of Tamil descent, about Brotherless Night – her recently released historical novel set during Sri Lanka’s civil war.

49th Shelf: Most Anticipated: Our 2023 Fall Fiction Preview – “All the [Canadian] fiction you’ll be falling in love with in the second half of 2023.”

Africa is a Country: A tale of two reviews – “In the 1960s, two African nationalist magazines shared a name,” says Alex White, “but declassified files reveal that they were on opposite sides of a literary Cold War.”

Today: Tana French answers questions about her next anticipated book, ‘The Hunter’ – Dublin-dwelling writer and theatrical actress Tana French, “returns to the west of Ireland” with her forthcoming novel, The Hunter.

Börsenblatt: These are the 20 nominated novels – “The longlist for the German Book Prize 2023 has been announced: the jury has nominated 20 novels. The selection is once again proof ‘that contemporary German-language literature is full of surprises,’ said jury chairwoman Katharina Teutsch.”

Public Discourse: The Bookshelf: Editions and Subtractions – “A book in its entirety, once given to the world, is a kind of integer, a whole from which nothing should be subtracted if it is to remain what it is,” writes Matthew J. Franck in this piece on abridged books.

Shondaland: Alice Hoffman Talks Her Latest Novel, ‘The Invisible Hour’ – The prolific author talks to Sandra Ebejer about “librarians, book bans, […] why she’ll never tire of writing about magic” and her new fantasy novel, The Invisible Hour.

Lux: Kill Joy to Live Better – The British Australian scholar, “Sara Ahmed’s Feminist Killjoy Handbook teaches us not to nod and smile,” says Mary Retta.

Nepali Times: Prajwol Parajuly nominated for French book award – “Two Indian writers, Manu Joseph and Prajwal Parajuly have been nominated for the long list of the Emile Guimet Prize, awarded annually to a book by an Asian author and translated into French.”

Jewish Review of Books: No Simple Return – “Hildegard Dina Löwenstein was born twice by her own account—first in Cologne in 1909 and then again in 1951, after her mother died and she began writing poems,” reveals Samantha Rose Hill.

Lunate: Keith Ridgway’s Shelf Life – “With every book I read — even a terrible book — I become a marginally better writer. Or a marginally different writer anyway,” says novelist Keith Ridgway. 

Elle: Women Authors Are Redefining the Hip-Hop Books Canon – “As hip-hop turns 50, the stories told by and centring women in the culture are more important than ever. Here, eight writers tell us why.”

The Guardian: ‘Overrun with rats’: Charles Dickens Museum illuminates author’s factory stint – “Dickens was taken out of school aged 11 to work in a London blacking factory as his father sank into debt” – now, however, “the Charles Dickens Museum in London is marking the bicentenary of the bleak period” with a new exhibition, reports Harriet Sherwood.

Humanist UK: Humanist Bookshelf – “Humanist Bookshelf shares words of wisdom by the humanist thinkers who have helped to define humanism.”

New Lines Magazine: Reading James Joyce in Kuwait — with Mai Al-Nakib – Award-winning novelist Mai Al-Nakib joins New Lines magazine’s Lydia Wilson to talk about how James Joyce’s vision of early 20th-century Ireland resonated during her youth in Kuwait. 

ABC News: Who was Eileen Blair? Miles Franklin-winning author Anna Funder’s new book shines a light on George Orwell’s little-known wife – “The Miles Franklin-winning author takes on the patriarchy in her new book, Wifedom: Mrs Orwell’s Invisible Life.” 

Mashable: TikTok’s first ever Book Awards: Who won? – “Women authors took home the most wins, chosen by the #BookTok community,” says Meera Navlakha.

The Japan Times: Haruki Murakami’s latest has readers and reviewers perplexed – Following the arrival of the renowned author’s first full-length novel in six years, critics and readers have been left scratching their heads.

Book Riot: How Accurate is Climate Fiction? (And If It’s Not, Why Don’t I Feel Any Better?) – Ann-Marie Cahill scrutinises the facts behind the emergent cli-fi genre.

Publishers Weekly: Is Fighting Bigotry with Book Sales – Online bookstore has built its business on a profit-sharing model with authors in a time marked by growing efforts to remove queer literature from bookshelves across the USA.

How to Glow in the Dark: Daddy, where do audiobooks come from? – “Who makes audiobooks; when, where, and for what money they make them; and what to expect with regard to your own audiobook (assuming you have a book deal with a big/big-ish publisher)” – Anna Sproul-Latimer explains to authors how audiobooks work. 

The Hollywood Reporter: AI-Created Art Isn’t Copyrightable, Judge Says in Ruling That Could Give Hollywood Studios Pause – “A federal judge […] upheld a finding from the U.S. Copyright Office that a piece of art created by AI is not open to protection,” reports Winston Cho.



If there is something you would particularly like to see on Winding Up the Week or if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments for Book Jotter in general, please drop me a line or comment below. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I wish you a week bountiful in books and rich in reading.

NB In this feature, ‘winding up’ refers to the act of concluding something and should not be confused with the British expression: ‘wind-up’ – an age-old pastime of ‘winding-up’ friends and family by teasing or playing pranks on them. If you would like to know more about this expression, there is an excellent description on Urban Dictionary.

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19 replies

  1. I’ve been on a little visit to Balzac’s house and I think there are many more trips I could take through the portal of your post! Thanks, Paula.

  2. Get Rid of [My] Books? Never–ha ha ha, she may be talking sense (I can see that with all those piles around me, and my mother always says buy a house big enough first)–but it is hard to part with them. I do hope I can do some decluttering though.

    I clicked on the Charmian Clift piece almost instantly too since I did read both of her Greek memoirs when they republished them

    • The problem for me is that I do not equate books with clutter.🤷‍♀️ Far more cluttery to my mind are TV sets, ornaments and almost anything that doesn’t enhance the general enjoyment of reading, eating or spending quality time with my pets. Of course, my partner disagrees – but I pretend not to have heard! 🤣

      Love your doggy post, by the way. 🐕🐶🐕‍🦺🐩

      • Likewise–but I will admit I might one day end up with more books than other things and than I have room for (unless I can win a lottery by then 😀 — one never knows )

        Glad you enjoyed the doggie post!

  3. So many good articles. Don’t know where to start. I’ve already downloaded three to my Kindle to read over the weekend. Thanks and keep up the great work!!

  4. Thanks Paula – and especially for the reminder about Czech reading month. I have something planned… ;D

  5. Goodness, how sad, books are possibility and atmosphere, not clutter! I was happy to see that decision about AI, one little step in the right direction. Thanks for the links this week!

  6. There’s always room for one more book 😉

  7. Good stuff as usual, Paula, thanks. I didn’t really get stuck into the Le Guin article as my eye was caught by the Emma Donaghue piece. Interestingly, I commented on a blog review of the Learned by Heart novel in the last couple of days, pointing out that it’s assumed that both Charlotte and Emily Brontë will have heard all about Anne Lister from Lister’s neighbours; and that it’s likely – because there are so many thematic parallels – that Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Shirley owed much to the character of Anne Lister and her loves.

    • I meant to add this link to the review Helen of She Reads Novels wrote and where I commented:

    • Thank you, Chris. That really is most interesting. I read the diaries of Anne Lister many years before Gentleman Jack and found her absolutely fascinating. Suranne Jones is immensely watchable in the TV drama and carried off the part marvellously – but I also enjoyed The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister some years earlier with Maxine Peake taking on the role. Two quite different interpretations. I wonder why the third series of GJ has been cancelled? It seemed so popular.


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